Next up in our series is The Great Dane himself, Frederik Andersen.
Andersen is entering his third season with the Leafs since coming over from Anaheim in the summer of 2016. After back-to-back 66-game seasons, we’ve seen enough of Freddie Andersen in Toronto to get a good sense of what he brings to the crease for the Leafs.
Though he’s had up-and-down stretches in a Leafs uniform, Frederik Andersen has been a remarkably consistent goaltender at the NHL level. He’s enjoyed back-to-back seasons with a .918 save percentage, despite a much more substantial workload since coming to Toronto.
Andersen’s 2029 saves last season were more than any other NHL goaltender, and 121 more than the runner-up (Andrei Vasilevskiy). While his workload last season may have seemed ill-advised by the time the playoffs rolled around, it should go without saying that Andersen, as far as the regular season is concerned, is a goaltender more than capable of handling the heavy minutes.
It’s also worth noting that Andersen set a career high in shutouts last season with 5. As far as the starting position goes, Leafs fans should have full confidence in Andersen being in top form for a run heading into 2019-20.
The Road Ahead
It remains to be seen whether or not Andersen will enjoy a smaller workload in 2018-19. With the Leafs leaning towards Garret Sparks as their backup goaltender, the young netminder may prove himself capable of relieving some of the pressure on Andersen’s shoulders. An ideal situation for the Leafs would likely see Frederik Andersen take a few more nights off in the regular season, especially with the Leafs’ projected position as a playoff shoe-in. 57 starts (and 25 games off) would be much more ideal in a perfect world and, hopefully, would provide an even steadier and more reliable version of Andersen than we’re used to seeing.
Of course, this is all speculation as well. With 13 back to backs this season, Mike Babcock may stubbornly elect to keep Andersen’s workload consistent – or worse, expand it. Assuming Freddie gets the second night off all 13 times, there are still a possible 69 games that Freddie could start. That isn’t exactly nice.
Assuming Andersen manages to hover around 60 games this season, expect the usual from the Danish netminder. He’s already proven himself in the regular season; now, it’s time for him to prove himself a game-changer down the stretch.